6th Grade - Realism Vs. Fantasy

 
     
 
     
 
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6th
Stories and Literature
Realism vs. fantasy
Critique the credibility of characterization and the degree to which a plot is contrived or realistic (e.g., compare use of fact and fantasy in historical fiction).
Evaluate the credibility of characterization and plot in fiction.
 

Sample Problems

(1)

What does it mean to “critique” something? (to judge)


(2)

What is characterization? (the qualities given to characters by the author)


(3)

What does “credible” mean? (believable)


(4)

What does it mean to say a story is “contrived” (seems artificial)


(5)

What does a “realistic” story sound like? (true to life)


(6)

How do you decide is a character is credible?

(7)

How do you know when a story is contrived?

Learning Tips

(1)

Note: Grade 6 Social Studies curriculum includes a unit on ancient Israel.


Read this excerpt from the book Coming Out of Egypt by KC Stricker (http://www.comingoutofegypt.com/book-excerpts.html)


Chapter 3. Moses' Premature Deliverance: Amram slowly opened the door, and an elderly woman entered into their dwelling, nearly out of breath. In her hand she held a staff. Breathing heavily she apologized, "Forgive my intrusion! Hezron from the Household of Judah has sent me to you!" As she held out the staff, Moses slowly moved into view. The woman looked into Moses' eyes and placed the staff into his hand. She stood silently watching Moses run his hand across the staff with great tenderness. "Yes," she said in a whisper, "You feel His presence." Moses looked up at her, and she took a deep breath; overwhelmed by his penetrating eyes, she exhaled, filled with a sense of peace. The woman continued her message. "This staff will guide you all the days of your life, and it will lead you safely on your journey. It belonged to the first man, Adam, and was passed through the generations to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob then passed the staff to Judah and G-d said: *The scepter shall not depart from Judah nor a scholar from among his descendants until Shiloh arrives and his will be an assemblage of nations.[1]*

(2)

Do you think the characterization of Moses in this paragraph is credible? What details make it believable?

(3)

Which historical details in this paragraph are contrived? Which seem realistic? For example, would these people have been speaking English?


(4)

What source do you think the author used to write this story? Is it a reliable source?

(5)

Can you think of a way to make this more credible, or do you think it is very credible the way it is written?


Extra Help Problems

(1)

Grade 6 Social Studies curriculum includes unit on ancient Greece, including the Trojan War. This is a version of The Iliad by Homer, an account of the war.



Excerpt from Ithaka by Adele Geras (http://syndetics.com/index.aspx?isbn=0152056033/DBCHAPTER.html&client=ow...)


Odysseus and his wife, Penelope, and their baby, Telemachus, are sitting on a woolen coverlet spread out in the shade of a pomegranate tree. It is early in the morning. The baby, recently fed, is drowsing on his back, his hands flung out above his head, his mouth a little open, and his eyes half closed. Penelope is trying hard not to cry. She's blinking to stop the tears from falling. She's turned her head away from her husband.


"Listen to me, Penelope," he says. "Look at me. Don't turn away. I have to go. Anyone who calls himself a man has a duty to go."


"It's not your war. It's not your fight. What's Agamemnon ever done for you? Stay here. Stay with me and Telemachus, I beg of you, Odysseus. Look at your son. How can you bear to leave him?"


Odysseus shakes his head. "I tried. You saw me trying. I did my best not to go. Didn't I? Didn't I pretend I was mad so as not to have to go?"


"It didn't work, though, did it?"


"Did you want me to run my plow over the body of my son?" Odysseus shakes his head.


"Agamemnon's as cunning as you are. He knew you were only pretending to be crazy. The ruler of Ithaka plowing his own fields and sowing them with salt!" Penelope's voice breaks as she speaks. "I saw the look on his face as he picked our baby up and laid him down on the ground, right in the path of your plow. He knew you were putting on a show. Tricking him."


Telemachus stirs, makes a moaning noise, and wakes up. He starts to fuss, and his mother gathers him up into her arms, nuzzling her face into the soft folds of his neck. Odysseus looks at his wife and child, and tears stand in his eyes.


"Listen to me, Penelope. I'll come back. I swear I will. On the life of my precious son and on the love that fills me when I look at you, I'm telling you that I'll return. Don't stop waiting for me, my darling. You have to believe me. Please, Penelope. Say you believe me."

(2)

Which details in the excerpt are realistic, or accurate to history and to the story in The Iliad?


(3)

Do you think the characters of Penelope and Odysseus are credible? Why or why not?

(4)

Look up the story of Odysseus and the plow. Did it really happen? Does this excerpt capture the truth?

(5)

If you had a new baby, would you pretend to be willing to kill him so you didn’t have to go to war?

(6)

Do you think this was a heroic act?

(7)

Find more fictionalized accounts of life in ancient Greece or another historical period that interests you; critique their credibility.

 

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